5 Ways to Fundraise for Felines

When it comes to advocating for cats at The Cat Network, we think the more creative, the better! We’ve listed five pet-friendly ways to raise money for the felines we care for. 

  1. Pet Photo Day: Become a photographer for the day, and set up a “studio” at your location of choice! Bring in some props for the photos–yarn, toys (the options are endless!) and charge per photo. Charge for photos, but consider offering printed merchandise as well! Who wouldn’t want a t-shirt or coffee mug with their cat’s face on it?
  2. Pet Bake Sale: Not only do we love sweet treats, but our feline friends do too! Research online homemade cat treats and bake away! Host a local “pet bakery” and donate the proceeds.
  3. Pet Walkathon: Walkathons have become an extremely popular fundraiser style for charitable organizations. Make yours animal-friendly by encouraging people to bring their leashed cats (dogs too!) along for the fun. Set up water stations along the way to keep our four-legged companions hydrated.
  4. Pet Friendly Dinner Party: Organize a dinner party– and invite your pets! Sell tickets to the event for guests and their pets, utilizing ticket funds for donations. Set up a kitty-approved menu of courses that your guests and pets will love, even the after-dinner treat!
  5. Pet Yoga: With the rising popularity in goat yoga, why not get our cats involved? Find a yoga instructor in your area to host the event, and sell tickets. Your attendees will be ecstatic to “Namaste” with their furry friend!

Ready to host your own fundraiser for The Cat Network? Create your event through this online nonprofit registration tool– it’s a great way to plan your event, grow awareness and manage donations!

Why Foster a Cat?

Why Foster a Cat“Fostering a cat is not a lifetime commitment, it is a commitment to saving a life.”

This is the watchword of cat rescues everywhere.

To foster a cat is, quite simply, to save that cat’s life. A foster home provides this same cat with a safe, temporary place of refuge until he/she is ultimately placed in a permanent, adoptive home.

Most rescues rely solely on a network of dedicated, volunteer foster homes, and could not survive without them. And rescues NEVER have enough foster homes.
Why? Because there are more cats in need than there are foster homes available to meet that need.

There are many benefits to fostering, many pleasant surprises and many unexpected rewards. Foster parents, past and present, describe it as one of the most memorable and gratifying experiences of their lives.

Fostering is both a way of enriching the lives of the cats and people involved, and a constructive way for people to give back to their communities. Fostered cats can provide endless hours of entertainment and love for their humans, and provide invaluable life lessons for adults and children alike.

By taking a deserving cat into their home, fosters increase that cat’s chances of being adopted. Foster families have the time and the ability to transform their foster cat — through one-on-one contact, exercise, feeding and training — into a happy and well mannered companion pet any person or family would be proud to call their own.

Fostering provides a needy cat with a stable environment, coupled with love, attention and affection. While the foster family provides the food, the rescue usually provides everything else, including payment of all medical costs to ensure the cat’s ongoing health and wellbeing.

Fosters are the essential eyes and ears of rescue. By spending every day with their foster cat, fosters will learn all they can about his/her particular personality. They will be able to identify any behavioral issues that need to be addressed, then work on addressing them.

If fosters already have a cat – either their own or another foster — in residence, all the better. The more animals their foster cat meets, the more socialized he/she will become, the more easily he/she will handle stress, and the more relaxed he/she will be around strangers.

For those who have never owned a cat, fostering provides them with the unique opportunity of seeing whether they themselves are suited for permanent “pet parenthood.”

But fostering a cat is NOT a form of trial adoption for that particular cat. There is even a term for it: foster failure. The most successful fosters are those who, despite being emotionally invested, know that they are essentially a stepping stone towards their foster cat’s future. And that as one successfully fostered cat leaves their home, another needy and deserving cat is waiting to enter it.

Ultimately, then, fostering a cat saves not just one life, but two.

Article written by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA.

#pets #cats #kittens #foster #animalcaretaker

A Cat-Proofed Home is a Cat-Safe Home

Cat Proofed HomeA cat-proofed home is a cat-safe home whether your new pet is a newborn kitten or a fully- grown cat. Before that first front paw crosses your threshold for the first time, your home must be a health zone, not a hazard zone. Be especially attentive to the sensibilities of former “outside” cats, who may never have walked on wooden floors, carpets or tiles, or been exposed to so many unfamiliar sights before.

Begin the process of cat-proofing by walking through your home, room by room, searching for things a kitten or cat might climb, knock over or pull down, and either secure, remove or store them. Keep all trashcans behind closed and latched doors and wastebaskets (covered if possible) out of sight. Ensure that all heating/air vents have covers. Snap specially designed plastic caps over electrical outlets. Tie electrical cords together and tuck them out of reach.

Install childproof latches to keep inquisitive paws from prying open cabinet doors in kitchens and bathrooms, and ALWAYS keep toilet lids down. In bedrooms, keep all medications, lotions and cosmetics off accessible surfaces such as bedside tables. Store collections – from buttons and coins to marbles and potpourri – on high shelves, and keep breakables on low surfaces to a minimum.

Most chemicals are hazardous to kittens and cats and should be replaced if possible with non-toxic products. A partial list includes: antifreeze, bleach, drain cleaner, household cleaners and detergents, glue, nail polish and polish remover, paint, varnish and sealants, pesticides and rat poison.

Many indoor plants, however pretty, can prove poisonous to kittens and cats that are, by nature, explorers, climbers and lickers. A partial list of these plants includes: amaryllis, azaleas and rhododendrons, chrysanthemum, cyclamen, kalanchoe, lilies, oleander, peace lily, pothos, Sago palm, tulip and narcissus bulbs, and yew.

Seemingly harmless “people” food can often be lethal for kittens and cats. These include alcoholic beverages, bones from fish or poultry, canned “people” tuna, chocolate, grapes and raisins, liver (in large amounts), macadamia nuts, milk, mushrooms, onions and garlic, potato, rhubarb and tomato leaves and stems, raw eggs and fish, and yeast dough.

Although prevention is the key to your new pet’s wellbeing, accidents can and do happen. The truly protective pet parents are prepared pet parents and know to keep a list of vital numbers handy:

  • Veterinarian
  • 24-hour veterinary emergency clinic
  • ASPCA Poison Control: 888-426-4435
  • Pet Poison Help Line: 800-213-6680

Hopefully, these are numbers you’ll never use. And as long as you remain vigilant, both you and your new, best furry friend can rest, assured.

Article written by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA.

#cats #kittens #catsafety #poisoncontrol #veterinaryemergency

Why Spay and Neuter Your Cat

Photo Courtesy Alley Cat Allies

Photo Courtesy Alley Cat Allies

The problem of cat overpopulation is a global one and requires a solution on a global scale. But like every journey that begins with a single step, this particular journey must begin with every cat owner in every community, town and city in the country. Those conscientious owners who act responsibly by spaying and neutering their cherished family pets.

Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is the surgical removal of a female cat’s ovaries and uterus, while neutering (castration) is the removal of a male cat’s testicles. To minimize discomfort and pain, both procedures are performed under general anesthesia. Most cats are back to their “normal” selves within a few days, the surgery site usually heals within two weeks, and any skin stitches removed by your vet at a follow up appointment.

Did you know that in seven years, an unspayed female and unneutered male cat (and their offspring, if none are spayed or neutered) can result in the births of a staggering 781,250 kittens?

And the inevitable outcome? Hundreds of thousands of cats being euthanized each year through no fault of their own. Why? Because they are the tragic, but avoidable, results of over breeding and overpopulation. Why? Because there are too few shelters to house them and too few homes to either foster or adopt them. Why? Because there are still too many cat owners unwilling to spay and neuter their family pets.

Both intact male and female cats may try to escape their homes in order to roam outside. Neutering your male will eliminate roaming, urine spraying, and fighting with neighborhood cats. Spaying your female will eliminate the estrus or “heat” behavior of yowling that attracts and invites mounting by roaming males.

Despite some owners’ fears, spaying and neutering will not alter their cat’s basic personality – except many males will be less aggressive and more docile. Their playfulness, general activity levels, excitement, and vocalization will remain the same. Although neutered males and spayed females may gain weight due to decreased roaming and other sexual behavior outdoors, keeping them active indoors and managing their weight through diet will keep this potential problem under control.

Spaying and neutering cats before the age of six months is growing in popularity and the benefits to their health and well being are well documented. Spayed females are less likely to develop breast cancer and won’t be at risk for either ovarian or uterine cancer. Neutered males won’t develop testicular cancer, and without the need to roam, their risk of being injured or infected by other cats is drastically reduced. And males neutered prior to puberty (six months) won’t develop the large head and thick skin of intact males. Early spaying and neutering may also prevent problem behaviors before they occur and may either eliminate or reduce certain behaviors in older cats.

Imagine if every conscientious cat owner in every community, town and city in the country took responsibility for spaying and neutering their family pets. Imagine what we, as part of the global community, could accomplish then.

The Cat Network offers low cost spay neuter services for both community cats and pets. Click here for more information.

Article written by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA.

#spayneuter #spay #neuter #pets

Top 10 Halloween Safety Tips for Pet Parents

Cat HalloweenAttention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you

Tips courtesy of the ASPCA.

Other Resources

Medical Issues May Be the Reason Your Cat is Not Using the Litter Box

This article is the second in a 3 part series from Cat Network member Cindy Hewitt.  She shares her tips for determining why your cat is not using the litter box and how to solve the problem.

If your cat is not using the litter box, there is usually a reason. In my last article, I discussed reasons why the litter box is unattractive to your cat.

Other reasons cats avoid litter boxes, include medical issues and behavioral issues.

Let’s explore medical issues a cat may be experiencing if he or she is avoiding the litter box.

“Knowledge regarding feline urinary tract issues is evolving in terms of diagnostics, causes and treatments, and this can be both confusing and controversial. The current thinking is that the majority of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) cases has no clear cause and is lumped into idiopathic cystitis or interstitial cystitis (borrowed from human medicine).  Since the exact cause is unknown, the perfect therapy eludes us.  To make matters worse, this syndrome of idiopathic cystitis can produce urinalysis results that sometimes yield either bacteria or crystals, obscuring the true process initially.  This frustrates owners and vets alike.  Often, idiopathic cystitis is finally diagnosed once a trend or repeated pattern is detected” explains Dr. Jim Dugan of Pinecrest Veterinary Hospital.

Cats frequently attempt to get our attention and let us know they are having problems by eliminating outside the litter box.  When this occurs, cats should be examined by a veterinarian to insure there is no medical basis for the issue. A urinalysis should be performed to determine Ph and specific gravity, and to look for crystals, bacteria and blood in your cat’s urine.  If there are no significant findings in the urinalysis, but this is a repeat or chronic issue, a radiograph should be performed. If there are still no findings, an Ultrasound is helpful in more thoroughly visualizing the bladder and bladder wall to evaluate for possible calculi.  If US isn’t available, a radiograph with contrast (usually air is used to inflate the bladder) may be useful.

If a cat is going in and out of the litter box, or appears to be straining but not producing urine, it is CRITICAL to monitor carefully and if the cat cannot urinate, it is a medical EMERGENCY.  A blocked urethra can be fatal and must be treated immediately.  If you are unsure, segregate the cat with a clean litterbox and observe carefully to determine if it is actually urinating.

Some studies have shown that in cats under 10 years of age, the vast majority of urinary tract infections (UTI) have no bacterial component, so treatment with antibiotics may not be necessary.  If there is blood in the urine, most veterinarians prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.  In addition, studies have shown that most UTIs in young cats clear in 3-5 days, with or without antibiotics, fluid therapy, both or nothing.  Providing COMFORT to the cat by using medication to relieve pain and/or reduce inflammation should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Diet appears to play a role in many cases.

If the cat is producing crystals, modifying the Ph of the urine (with diet or drugs) can help prevent formation and even dissolve some existing crystals.  Fluid intake also makes a difference, as larger fluid intake can help flush out any small crystals that may form.  Providing a fresh flowing fountain, or giving your cat very low-sodium chicken broth (such as Pacific low sodium, free range, organic broth with about 70mg sodium/8 oz) can help increase fluid intake.

Many cats improve if fed a prescription diet such as Hill’s Rx CD Multicare, Royal Canin Urinary SO and Purina UR.  If the cat improves on a prescription diet, then dietary modification is probably appropriate.  If the cat improves and is stable on a prescription diet for an extended period of time, but cost is a factor, ask your vet if you can try an over-the-counter (OTC) urinary formula food such as Purina Pro Plan Urinary Formula.  If your vet approves, slowly add in the OTC urinary formula food (no more than 10% at a time) over several weeks, and if the cat does well both from a digestive and urinary perspective, see if you can maintain him on the OTC urinary formula.

Additionally, if the cat has experienced painful elimination (such as with a bladder infection), it may associate this pain with the litterbox and be hesitant to use the box again.  If your cat had an infection which has been successfully treated and is still hesitant to use the box, try a different type of box in a different location in an attempt to break the association.

Cat Professionals, Ltd. has produced a great booklet on FLUTD, which thoroughly outlines the diverse things that can impact your cat.  It is available in print or download formats.

Thanks to Dr. Jim Dugan of Pinecrest Veterinary Hospital for contributing to this article.

In part one of this article series, Cindy shares 6 reasons why your cat may be avoiding the litter box.  In part three of the series, she explains the behavioral problems that cause cats to avoid the litter box.

6 Reasons Why Your Cat May Be Avoiding the Litter Box

This article is the first in a 3 part series from Cat Network member Cindy Hewitt.  She shares her tips for determining why your cat is not using the litter box and how to solve the problem.

Inappropriate elimination is the leading cause when cats are relinquished to shelters, and urinary issues are one of the most common health problems for which cat guardians seek veterinary assistance.

Cats naturally seek somewhere to eliminate that will allow them to bury their waste.  When cats don’t use the litter box, there is usually a reason:

  • For some reason the litter box is unattractive.
  • There is a medical issue.
  • There is a behavioral issue.

6 Reasons a Cat May Find a Litter Box Unattractive

Cats can be very particular, and a variety of issues affect their willingness to use a litter box.

1. Location: should be in a quiet, peaceful location away from noise and traffic.

2. Type of box: some cats are hesitant to use a hooded litter box; other cats prefer the privacy.

3. Type of litter:

  • Most cats prefer a small grain litter such as scoopable litter. Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Litter is formulated to encourage cats to use the litter box, and may be helpful in retraining your cat.
  • Scented litters can be very offensive to cats.  Try an unscented plain clay or scoopable litter.
  • Dust from litter may bother the animal; use a low dust brand.
  • Try different types of litter (scoopable, clay, etc.) in different boxes (open vs. hooded) at the same time, preferably in the same location, to control for all variables. If your cat has a preference for one type of litter, use that litter in different boxes and locations to further understand your cat’s needs.

4. Litter box liners: some cats dislike liners; when they dig their claws get caught, and they don’t like the feel of the plastic.

5. Number of boxes vs. number of cats: most animal behaviorists recommend at least one box per cat plus a spare; if there are litter box problems, they recommend two boxes per cat because some cats won’t urinate and defecate in the same location.

6. Frequency of cleaning: cats don’t want to step into a landmine (theirs or another animal’s).  If the box is dirty, they will seek another location.  Clean boxes at least once daily, more often if possible.

Hint: make cleaning litter boxes as convenient as possible.  If using flushable litter, place in bathroom near toilet.  Consider having an old-fashioned diaper pail for easy disposal of waste, and containment of odor.  There are automatic boxes that will keep at least one box clean even if you aren’t home.

In part two of this article series, Cindy covers medical issues in cats that cause them to avoid the litter box.  In part three of the series, she explains the behavioral problems that cause cats to avoid the litter box.

Thanks to Dr. Jim Dugan of Pinecrest Veterinary Hospital for contributing to this article.

Photo credit: eviltomthai

Book Review: They Had Me at Meow, Tails of Love from the Homeless Cats of Buster Hollow

They Had Me at Meow: Tails of Love from the Homeless Cats of Buster Hollow, by Rosie Sorenson

From the first page of Rosie Sorenson’s book, “They Had Me at Meow: Tails of Love from the Homeless Cats of Buster Hollow”, I knew I was going to enjoy it and I was never disappointed. The charming and humorous stories of the unique cats of Buster Hollow reflect the deep love Rosie has for all her cats, and especially for Turtleman, the wonderful cat that found his way into the hearts of Rosie and her companion, Steve. After they rescued and adopted him, he spent his days as a happy, pampered, very much loved cat, and gave them all his love in return. These stories, together with the many photos throughout the book depicting the cats’ playful activities, reflect how caring for them over the years helped Rosie get through some rough times in her own life and gave her the support she needed. The unconditional love they returned to her was and continues to be one of life’s truly rewarding experiences.

Along with writing about the cats of Buster Hollow, Rosie has succeeded in informing readers of the far reaching advantages of practicing the concept of TNR or Trap-Neuter-Return, along with the growing acceptance of issues surrounding TNR, the only positive and humane control of feral cat populations everywhere. I found They Had Me at Meow to be educational and informative in this regard, along with the many resources Rosie lists at the end of the book.

It is Rosie’s hope that people will learn the responsibilities of caring for homeless cats from her book, focusing on neutering and spaying in order to decrease and eventually stop the large numbers of stray and feral cats from breeding and at the same time find happiness by helping these wonderful cats. I can certainly recommend this enjoyable book for anyone who is involved with and loves cats.

Sandy Cox, member of
The Cat Network, Inc., a So. Florida
humane cat rescue organization

For more information visit http://www.theyhadmeatmeow.com